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Archive for the ‘short story’ Category

Usually I like to “work ahead.” I do things today that will make my life easier tomorrow. Like chopping onions or veggies for dinner or putting together a casserole for breakfast.

food prep

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woman on benchA week or so ago I was watching one of those crime shows on TV, you know the ones where they have an agent/detective go “undercover” and spy on someone? In this show, the gal was sitting on a park bench with ear buds, bopping along to some unheard tune when this jogger stops and plants himself on the bench next to her and starts up a conversation. Now, this gal didn’t want to converse, yet neither did she want to appear as though she were spying on someone. So, she provided the occasional nod or “um hm” while continuing to watch her target from the corner of her eye.

That scene got me to thinking – which can be a scary thing I’ll admit. I wondered if this had ever happened to me. I mean, I’ve been known to strike up a conversation with a totally random stranger if the mood hits me. Yet I wondered, have I ever intruded in a clandestine spying operation? Have I ever encountered a completely random person, who appeared to be sitting/standing idly, yet was really annoyed because I was distracting them from their bad guy’s activities with mindless chit chat?

men at convenience store

Seriously, how many of those mornings at Starbucks or the gas station or the grocery store have I talked to an undercover law enforcement person doing their surveillance job?

That in turn got me to wondering other oddball things. Like, have I ever had in my possession counterfeit money? Have I ever spent counterfeit money passed on to me from some other source?

exchanging money

Have I ever happened upon a drug deal without even being aware it was happening in my presence?

Has a late night sting operation ever had to be aborted because I happened along for a snack at a convenience store? Gosh, I hope not. And yet . . . hmmmm?

How many people do I talk to every single day are hiding concealed weapons? Being from Mississippi I’m sure that number is quite high.

There are just so many things that could be happening right in front of my nose. I know that from now on everyone is going to look suspicious to me. How about you?

suspicious

Have you ever been in the wrong place at the wrong – or maybe right – time? What sorts of clandestine things have you interrupted? Come on – please share. Have you ever wondered if you’ve thwarted a crime just by showing up some place? Surely this isn’t just me.

Word of the day: Ididem

Fun fact about me: I’m tap dancing again.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2017. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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writer doing researchThe writer in me sometimes needs to go on research trips. Most of those trips involve either an actual trip to the library or, a staytrip into cyber world. Research can be tedious, but it can also be enlightening. And fun. (more…)

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woman readingLike most writers, I am a voracious reader and have been most of my life. While I do tend to gravitate toward certain genres, I usually enjoy reading anything well written. And, like most readers, I have favorite authors. (more…)

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I know I live down here in the Bible Belt, where you can’t swing a cat without hitting a church, but I had no idea until recently just how seriously these Southern folks are about their Bibles, Jesus and going to church. (They’re also very serious about their mamas, sweet tea, Coca-Cola, and dessert, but that’s a whole different post.) (more…)

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Writing is a touchy business. All subjective and sometimes VERY opinionated. Tom Hanks famously said, “there’s no crying in baseball.” Well, let me tell you, there’s a lot of crying in the writing business. (more…)

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sigh-in-relief

Whew! I’m glad that’s over. Ever have one of those weeks? My last week was jam packed with inn guests, meetings and special events. I mean jam packed!! (more…)

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beach-writer

Lots of people think authors live a glamorous life; sitting in a beach chair, toes in the sand, large floppy hat, cool beverage with little umbrella in the glass with a laptop or tablet on their lap, just tap, tap, tapping away on the keys until – BAM – 90,000 words later, a best-selling masterpiece appears. The next day someone slaps a gorgeous glossy cover on it and plasters it all over the Barnes & Noble front window.

bookstore-window

Then, after several hours of tap, tap, tapping, said author dons oversized dark glasses and some sparkly flip flop sandals, gets into their luxury sports car and dashes off to some posh restaurant for lunch with their editor, agent, and some movie producer from Hollywood to discuss the details of turning your latest masterpiece into a Hollywood blockbuster.

power-lunch

Spoiler alert – that NEVER happens. Oh sure, JK Rowling probably does that NOW, but not when she first started. Steven King is a household name and James Patterson’s name gets tossed around a lot on movie sets and such, but seriously, that didn’t happen overnight.

So, how did it happen? I’ll tell you – I have no idea. Believe me, I wish I did. I wish I knew what secret, besides hard work and perseverance would shoot me straight up that ladder to the beach chair in the sun because God knows I would love love to dig my toesies into some white sand right about now. Not to mention that little umbrella drink.

Here’s what I do know, those people spent many, many long days and sleepless nights fussing over the right words, the parts they deleted and maybe shouldn’t have, the opening scenes that should work but for some reason don’t, a reviewers harsh comment, hours of endless re-writing.

working-woman

In other words, they worked hard and they didn’t quit. They didn’t let disappointment ruin their vision.

And, despite how it seems to authors most days, they didn’t reach a certain level of fame alone. What? You’re saying others helped along the way? Absolutely. A lot of people probably helped and didn’t even know they helped. Strangers can help strangers. Readers can help writers. Here’s how:

helping-hand

Buy books, read books, talk about awesome books.

A great way to take it up a notch, is to leave a review. It’s easy, it’s free, it doesn’t take that long, and it goes a long way in helping authors’ careers. Here’s a few places where you can leave a review: https://www.goodreads.com/https://www.amazon.com/; or http://allreaders.com/.

Go to book signings if you can and BUY THE BOOK, even if you gift it to someone else.

Spread the word on social media. A “like,” a “share,” a comment, helps boost that author’s visibility. It seems trivial, but like election time, every vote matters. (Please don’t make this political people. God knows we don’t want to go there again.)

book-with-bowGift a book. A great way to help authors is to buy books for someone else. Especially in this day and age of electronic gadgets, almost everyone has an e-reader of some fashion. If not, you can download a free app to most smart phones. Heck, you can read books on your home computer. What better gift for a person who has everything or no longer wishes to “collect things?” Again, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive. Some e-books are less than a dollar. Gifting an e-book is super easy through Amazon or other on-line e-book retailers. All you need is the recipient’s e-mail address. What a lovely surprise for the recipient to open their e-mail and discover a gift! And it won’t clutter up a closet or shelf.

 

comment-boxHere’s how I’m going to help some authors this week: Every person who posts a comment on this blog between now and Friday, February 24th, will be gifted an e-book of my choice. Simply leave a comment and mention your favorite genre so I can choose an appropriate book for you from one of my favorite starving authors. Some of you I can wager a pretty good guess about genre, but others not so much. If I don’t already have your e-mail address, send me an e-mail at jansen.schmidt@yahoo.com so I can make sure your e-book arrives. (Caveat: I will only be gifting from Amazon so you’ll have to have a Kindle in order to participate. Sorry to those who prefer other e-reader methods.)

You in turn can help the author of the book I gifted to you by posting a review and I strongly encourage you to do so. I’m acting on good faith here that you will leave a review. If you do not wish to write a review and post it on any or all of the sites I listed above, please let me know if the comments. (Caveat: If you absolutely hate the book I gift you, please do NOT leave a bad review. An honest review yes, but not a scathing one.) Remember, the purpose of this week’s blog is to help each other out. I’m helping readers, you’re helping writers.

trust-quote

That’s it. Easy peasy. You can pass the word to your friends if they want a free book all they have to do is leave a comment and their e-mail address. I’ll do the rest.

So, thanks in advance to all who post a comment and enjoy your books!

How do you help starving authors? Do you routinely leave reviews? Do you attend book signings? Do you have an e-reader?

Word of Day: Acroter

Fun fact about me: I have 3 e-readers but I prefer paper books.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, February 2017. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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anshe-cemetery-sign

A few days ago my husband and I decided to take a little stroll in the Temple Anshe Chesed Cemetery. I know, not your typical mid-week, daytime, activity, but we’ve driven by this landmark many, many times and never taken the time to stop in and look around. (more…)

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So, tomorrow’s the big day; America’s getting a new Commander in Chief. I don’t know about you, but I for one am terrified to see the results. Either way, I’m going to be holding by breath for the next four years.

But, enough about that. Let’s let that fracas happen tomorrow shall we? Today, let’s have some wacky fun. I’ve already told y’all how much I like trivia, so here are some more totally random oddball facts for you to do with what you see fit. Feel free to laugh, scratch your head, research, whatever.

Everyone has a unique tongue print, just like fingerprints.

Most Muppets are left-handed. (Because more Muppeteers are right-handed, so they operate the head with their favored hand.)

Female kangaroos have three vaginas.

During World War II, the crew of the British submarine HMS Trident kept a fully grown reindeer called Pollyanna aboard their vessel for six weeks. (It was a gift from the Russian government.)

reindeer

The first man to urinate on the moon was Buzz Aldrin, shortly after stepping onto the lunar surface. (So he was holding it all that time and needed to relieve himself? Seriously? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure peeing isn’t what I’d have been doing if I stepped onto the moon’s surface. I mean no gravity. Think about that. Where’d it all go? On to his space suit? But hey, whatever.)

In 1567, the man said to have the longest beard in the world died after he tripped over it while running away from a fire. (I can’t make this stuff up.)

cousin-it

In 1993, San Francisco held a referendum over whether a police officer called Bob Geary was allowed to patrol while carrying a ventriloquist’s dummy called Brendan O’Smarty. (He was by the way, in case you’re wondering.)

The Dutch village of Giethoorn has no roads; its buildings are connected entirely by canals and footbridges. (And don’t you just want to go there now after seeing these pictures?)

The first American film to show a toilet being flushed on screen was Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

The top of the Eiffel Tower leans away from the sun, as the metal facing the sun heats up and expands. It can move as much as seven inches.

eiffel-tower

Lt. Col. “Mad” Jack Churchill was the only British soldier in WWII known to have killed an enemy soldier with a longbow. “Mad Jack” insisted on going into battle armed with both a medieval bow and a claymore sword. (God bless “Mad Jack.” I wonder if he also wore a kilt?)

There are around 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body. If you took them all out and laid them end to end, they’d stretch around the world more than twice. (But, seriously, don’t do that.)

So there you have it. A whole bunch of useless knowledge to clutter up your brains. I know, silly, but, I took your mind of the political circus for a few minutes anyway, huh?

What crazy thoughts do you want to share? Any random weirdness happening in your world? Who wants to go with me to Giethoorn? Have kayak will travel.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next week – here’s to random weirdness.

Word of the day: Lytta

Fun fact about me: I fed a reindeer lettuce when I was in Alaska.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, November 2016. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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